Steel Magnolias: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”:
In what ways are you stronger as a result of living with Migraine or another Headache Disorder?
I wrote this in a previous post about adversity ““The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”Mulan …I like this quote as well ‘the world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger at their broken places‘ We are all very familiar with adversity and challenges. Our health is a constant challenge. It also creates constant challenges within our life when it comes to interactions with the rest of the world through the workplace and friends and family. It is what it is. I have in the past overcome situations and come out the other side completely empowered by it, changed in very positive ways that changed the course of my life. I have also been completely crushed by pain and adversity, but that taught be some valuable lessons as well about pain, about limits and about the difference between what the world wants and what I can endure. In the first case, I bloomed, in the second, I’m stronger in my broken places. Perhaps with chronic pain we know a little more about physical suffering than we ever should know and more about other suffering than we will ever want to know. I don’t think that makes us particularly unique, since the world knows plenty about suffering. I just think it makes us particularly broken and stronger in those broken places. So it is both true and false. We bloom. We break.”
It is this process of coping with chronic pain for decades that makes us all stronger than we ever realize. We think at times we are weak because we fall down, but we get back up again and we learn from that, we add that to our ability to cope and I think in the end, yes, we have many fissures and cracks and broken places because of this constant battle with pain but we forget we are also stronger in our broken places because of this very battle. It is not the pain that makes us stronger of course but how we learn to survive it. In all the little ways we learn to cope with it, distract from it, get through the day, come to terms with it, understand it, be in the world with it, get back on our feet when it has really brought us down, overcome its challenges in new ways… and over time how can that not make us stronger in many ways that we cannot see or understand but are most definitely there in our spirits and hearts. It reminds me of Heidegger’s concept of Dasein or being-in-the-world except for me it is being-in-pain-being-in-the-world. That I don’t feel pain right now. Or later. I am a Being-in-Pain all the time and therefore my mental and emotional process to overcome this pain is a constant one. How can we not have profound experiences from this? How can it not profoundly change us and our view of the world? It does and not all of this is a negative experience but even my deepest depression and even my act to end it all in the end made me stronger, in the end were profound experiences themselves, were profound experiences when they ended, in the end taught me a great deal about pain, about myself and about how to cope. And out of all this constant struggle comes a massive amount of creativity. For me in my creative writing. For others in paintings, photography, poetry… many forms of expression. And I persevere and try new things that may help with the migraines, may help with coping, may help just with suffering. It takes a great deal of strength to keep trying these things when so many things have failed before. Sometimes we need a break from trying and trying endlessly. But we do eventually keep on trying.
Indeed, I think we are strong people. I think we are strong even at our weakest moments. We are strong because we fight a constant battle. We are strong because we carry the wounds and scars of that battle around all the time and we never stop trying. We are strong in our broken places. And we even bloom in adversity at times. You have to look far back sometimes to see how much strength you have harness up, gathered to you, used to cope and how far you have gone… but we survive because each of us is stronger than we comprehend because this process has profoundly changed us and we forget that some of those changes are good ones and enabled us to cope. And coping is strength. So we should be very proud of each and every small accomplishment we make every day, each little goal we achieve… because every one of these is achieved because of how we cope. And we should never feel guilty for what we cannot do, our limitations or what others think we should do… because all that? That is just noise.
June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.